The government wants to spend $700 billion to bail out financial institutions that have acquired so much bad debt, they can’t recover. I’m no financial expert, but when I read sentence fragments like, “saddle the taxpayers with $700 billion to buy bad assets,” it makes me angry. I’ve been wondering, since it’s become socially acceptable to settle for foreclosure on your real estate, am I eligible for some sort of reward for being responsible and paying my mortgage every month? I mean not to sound spoiled or anything, but so many people have been defaulting on loans, I feel as though I deserve some sort of good citizen recognition or at least a thank you note from my mortgage company.

People need to be held accountable for their own financial decisions. Sure, we blame the banks for handing out subprime mortgages like Halloween candy, but shouldn’t we also blame the people who signed the paperwork and agreed to make the monthly payments on loans they couldn’t afford? How spoiled can people be? I don’t know about everyone else, but when I agreed to sign a stack of legal documents for the loan on my condo, I asked, “By the way, what’s the monthly payment on that? Is it going to change? What are my options when I decide to sell or refinance?” You can’t pay your debt? Stop incurring it! Get a second job. Walk dogs. Wait tables. Pay your damn mortgage.

Do you know why we’re in trouble now? It’s because everyone loves a crisis, and no one has the financial knowledge to figure out how the economy is affecting them directly. People are thinking, Hey! We have no clue what we’re talking about, but the country is in a financial crisis! I know because all the reliable news headlines that I glance at while I’m Googling something less important tell me so!  Let’s all panic and sell our stocks because we don’t know what else to do! Everyone wants to get involved and do something, but no one understands that they best thing to do is sit tight and calm the fuck down.

Investing in anything involves at least an inkling of commitment. Nothing is a guarantee. If you purchase a home or invest in a stock, and its value begins to decrease instead of increase, you can’t just run away. You suck it up, keep making your payments and wait for the market to turn around.

We really need some system for educating U.S. citizens about money and managing personal finances. I spent a total of 17 years in school, and it blows my mind that I learned about everything from Hamlet and calculus to copyright law and nutrition, but not once did a teacher or a professor or a guidance counselor sit down and show me how to balance a checkbook or create a personal budget, much less manage investments wisely.

Granted, there are exceptions. I understand that, and my frustration with our current economic situation is not because of smart people who take risks on businesses and investments. They’re the ones that have crafted some of the best businesses of all time, and sometimes they encounter difficulties they’re unable to recover from. Those are the businesses and people who government assistance is there to benefit –for emergencies! It’s not there because spoiled Joe Shmoe wanted to live outside his means and knowingly signed the paperwork on a five-year ARM that he couldn’t ever afford in the first place (and his mortgage broker knew it).

Seriously, people. Get a grip. You’re making our country look like a bunch of spoiled brats. And morons. Just use some common sense. If you don’t have the money to buy something…don’t buy it!

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